The title of recently published Boy, Snow, Bird, by British author Helen Oyeyemi, intrigued me, so I had to investigate further. This retelling of the Snow White fairy tale is set in 1950s New England. It features twenty-year-old Boy Novak, who runs away from her abusive father in New York City’s Lower East Side to a small town in Massachusetts. There she finds friends and meets and marries a widower, Arturo Whitman, who has a beautiful, young, fair-haired daughter named Snow.
When Boy gives birth to her own daughter, Bird, she discovers a guarded family secret. Bird is dark-skinned like Arturo’s sister, who was banished by their socially ambitious mother, Olivia. Filled with conflict, Boy sends Snow to live with her Aunt Clara.
The characters in this tale are well-developed, and the plot entwines the reader as it twists through the complexities of race and gender identity, and love in many forms.